City plan could be trumped

SAM SACHDEVA AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2012

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An ambitious Christchurch City Council plan to rebuild the city's major facilities could face a shakeup, with fears a Government-led blueprint may result in an array of changes.

Next week, councillors will approve a final version of the city's annual plan, which currently proposes $823 million of big projects, including a new rugby stadium and convention centre.

However, part of the plan will be trumped a month later when the Central Christchurch Development Unit (CCDU) releases its own blueprint for the central city.

The CCDU, part of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), was set up in April to develop a masterplan for the location and design of "anchor projects".

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs has said the unit will also lead the rebuild of anchor projects once the plan is completed.

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said the council had "got ahead of itself" by preparing its own plan before the CCDU blueprint was released.

"I can't for the life of me understand why they are proceeding down this path, or why they think they should or can."

The Government had made it "absolutely crystal clear" that the CCDU, and not the council, would be responsible for the final shape of the central city plan, Dalziel said.

"I think this is indicative of the problem, which is that the public can't see who's taking responsibility for what."

Cr Glenn Livingstone described the council's plan as "shadow-boxing", given the ultimate supremacy of the CCDU blueprint. "We just don't know what the final result will be, but we have to go down this path anyway – we're obliged to because of the Local Government Act."

The annual plan was a chance to outline the council's priorities to the Government and the community, Livingstone said.

Mayor Bob Parker said the annual plan was not a waste of time as it set out a budget for all of Christchurch.

"The annual plan is for the whole of the city. The central city is one element of that."

Parker said he was "really comfortable" with the process, and the council was working with the CCDU and the Government to ensure the community's vision was listened to.

He conceded there could be changes to the major central city projects, including their locations, size and funding, but said no facilities would be scrapped altogether.

Isaacs said he had spent two hours with councillors on Thursday outlining the CCDU's "current thinking" on the anchor projects. The council's annual plan had allowed it to decide how many facilities it wanted and what it could afford, he said.

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Any changes to locations or costs would be discussed with the council "both before and after" the plan was released at the end of July.

- The Press

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